CISA Exam: Everything You Need to Know And How to Pass

So you also have heard of CISA and want to know what is CISA certification and what can be your route to achieving this certification. If you want to know in detail about what is CISA certification, then you are invited to read our detailed post here. But here also I will briefly discuss what is CISA certification.

What is CISA

CISA stands for Certified Information Systems Auditor, which is an IT certification administered by Information Systems Audit and Control Association, a not for profit body. The certification is most suitable for auditors who also want to certify their skills in the domain of information systems auditing. But it is more than that. It is a certification that showcases your skills as an information systems control, security and security professional. It is also suitable for you if your job relates to assessing and monitoring information systems. In fact, it is also a good certification for software developers too. In short it is a broad range certification that is suitable for a lot of domains.

It is the gold standard certification for information systems audit and control professionals. In fact, it is the only certification that is respected in the this field. Since its inception, more than 125,000 have earned this certification. It is one of the top paying IT certifications for many years. You can surely expect a significant growth in your career with CISA certification (from my personal experience).

Everything About CISA Exam

Anyone is eligible for appearing in CISA exam but in order to earn CISA certification you have to earn or pre-possess 5 years of information systems audit or control experience. Experience waivers upto 3 years are available. After you get CISA certification you also need to maintain your certification which means following CPE, paying CISA maintenance fee and following ISACA professional code of ethics.

CISA exam is administered by ISACA and it is now a computer based exam offered at a lot of locations around the world. It is not available throughout the year. Here are the exam windows for the year 2017:

  • 1 May – 30 June
  • 1 August – 30 September
  • 1 November – 31 December

It means that you can appear in CISA exam during these time windows. And you can register for the exam on ISACA website. The CISA Exam fee for 2017 is $575 for ISACA members and $760 for ISACA nonmembers. I would highly recommend that you get ISACA membership because the money you will pay for getting ISACA membership will be almost immediately rewarded back via discount for CISA exam fee. And there are other top notch ISACA membership benefits as well which are hard to resist. ISACA membership currently costs US $135 and there are discounts available for students. In addition to that you will pay mostly nominal local ISACA chapter dues.

It is recommended to register early if you want to take CISA exam because ISACA offers discount for early registration. Here are the timelines for registration for CISA exam during the 1 May to 30th June 2017 exam window:

  • 15 November 2016 – Registration Opens
  • 15 February 2017 – Scheduling Opens
  • 28 February 2017 – Early Registration Deadline
  • 23 June 2017 – Final Registration Deadline

You save $50 if you register by the early registration deadline. So there are savings in making up your mind early for the CISA exam. It will put you in the exam preparation mode early and increase your chances of success.

Here are all the important dates for CISA exam you need to remember for 2017.

Courtesy: ISACA

CISA Exam Domains

After discussing these practicalities of CISA exam, we now shift to what is exactly on the CISA exam. Here is my detailed post on what are  different CISA domains.

In brief, there will be 150 objective type questions on the 4 hour CISA exam from the following domains with the given weightage in the CISA exam questions.

  • Domain 1—The Process of Auditing Information Systems (21%)
  • Domain 2—Governance and Management of IT (16%)
  • Domain 3—Information Systems Acquisition, Development and Implementation (18%)
  • Domain 4—Information Systems Operations, Maintenance and Service Management (20%)
  • Domain 5—Protection of Information Assets (25%)

How to Prepare for CISA Exam

CIA pass percentage is quite low compared with other certification exam, therefore, take the exam with good preparation. Read my detailed post on how to pass CISA exam at first attempt  and you need only these exam resources to prepare for the examination. No other CISA guides are required. These are must have resources to maximize your chances for passing the exam. At the minimum, You must get latest CISA Review Manual and ISACA CISA Review Questions, Answers & Explanations Manual. Here are the top and recommended CISA exam preparation resources.

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